Local students react after grand jury indicts former President Trump

CHARLOTTE — A Manhattan grand jury has indicted former President Donald Trump, making him the first current or former president to face criminal charges.

A yearslong probe into an alleged hush-money payment involving Trump and adult film star Stormy Daniels led to the indictment.

The indictment is historic, marking the first time a former U.S. president and major presidential candidate has ever been criminally charged.

Channel 9′s Glenn Counts visited UNC Charlotte after the announcement and learned students were talking about the historic announcement.

“I also think that it really is a challenging thing in our divisive world to think about a fair trial and how that’s going to happen,” said Annalese Dutch, a graduate student.

Some students said that politics could be playing a role in the decision to bring up charges against Trump.

“I think this could be a lot of politics,” said Quinn Smith, a junior. “I think it could be (that) they want to find something so they are picking at everything they possibly can.”

“I think he has the right to have this trial or have whatever needs to go on in that process, but I would be very surprised if he got off,” said Victoria Smith, a sophomore.

Many students believe the case will be a stress test for the criminal justice system.

Those young voters will be critical in the next election.

“I think the age factor and generational factor is important,” said Susan Roberts, a political science professor at Davidson College. “I also think we need to look at how this will play out with the independent voter, the unaffiliated voter, the people who might be persuaded by character more than ideological issues.”

Trump faces more than 30 counts related to business fraud, according to a CNN report.

The indictment has been filed under seal and will be announced in the coming days. The charges are not publicly known at this time, CNN stated.

Trump is also expected to surrender in New York early next week, sources familiar with the matter tell ABC News.

Trump said the indictment was “political persecution” and “an attack on our country.”

It is an attempt to impact the next election, said Trump, who is running for president in 2024.

Former President Donald J. Trump statement:

“This is Political Persecution and Election Interference at the highest level in history. From the time I came down the golden escalator at Trump Tower, and even before I was sworn in as your President of the United States, the Radical Left Democrats - the enemy of the hard-working men and women of this Country - have been engaged in a Witch-Hunt to destroy the Make America Great Again movement. You remember it just like I do: Russia, Russia, Russia; the Mueller Hoax; Ukraine, Ukraine, Ukraine; Impeachment Hoax 1; Impeachment Hoax 2; the illegal and unconstitutional Mar-a-Lago raid; and now this.”

“The Democrats have lied, cheated, and stolen in their obsession with trying to ‘Get Trump,’ but now they’ve done the unthinkable - indicting a completely innocent person in an act of blatant Election Interference.”

“Never before in our Nation’s history has this been done. The Democrats have cheated countless times over the decades, including spying on my campaign, but weaponizing our justice system to punish a political opponent, who just so happens to be a President of the United States and by far the leading Republican candidate for President, has never happened before. Ever.”

“Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg, who was hand-picked and funded by George Soros, is a disgrace. Rather than stopping the unprecedented crime wave taking over New York City, he’s doing Joe Biden’s dirty work, ignoring the murders and burglaries, and assaults he should be focused on. This is how Bragg spends his time!

“I believe this Witch-Hunt will backfire massively on Joe Biden. The American people realize exactly what the Radical Left Democrats are doing here. Everyone can see it. So our Movement, and our Party - united and strong - will first defeat Alvin Bragg, and then we will defeat Joe Biden, and we are going to throw every last one of these Crooked Democrats out of office so we can MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”

U.S. Senator Thom Tillis statement:

“This indictment doesn’t pass the smell test. The Department of Justice already looked into the facts and decided there was no case to be made against President Trump. This is the same District Attorney who is notorious for letting violent criminals off the hook in Manhattan but has been laser-focused on pursuing a politicized prosecution of a former president. Politics should never tip the scales of justice, and Congress has every right to investigate the conduct and decision-making of the Manhattan D.A.’s office.”

U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham statement:

“This is a shocking and dangerous day for the Rule of Law in America.

“This is one of the most irresponsible decisions in American history by any prosecutor.”

“It is irresponsible because the case was looked at by two previous prosecutors and they passed. It has not aged like fine wine.”

“The chief witness for prosecution is a convicted felon, Michael Cohen, whose previous lawyer said he is untrustworthy. Upon scrutiny, this case folds like a cheap suit. "

“So how does this end? Trump wins in court and he wins at the ballot box.”

Congresswoman Alma Adams statement::

“’No one is above the law.’ Those words are a promise as old as the United States, and that promise was kept today with the indictment of Donald Trump.

“Mr. Trump, like every other American, is entitled to due process. That is another core promise of our Constitution. The State of New York has spent years meticulously building their case, and they secured an indictment not from political power brokers or the media, but from a grand jury of ordinary citizens.

“Make no mistake, this is a sad day for our country. Justice doesn’t celebrate, justice isn’t vengeful, and it doesn’t find joy in accountability. Nevertheless, I am proud of our democracy and our legal system for renewing and refreshing our faith in our system of justice. No one, not even a president, is above the law.”

DNC statement:

“No matter what happens in Trump’s upcoming legal proceedings, it’s obvious the Republican Party remains firmly in the hold of Donald Trump and MAGA Republicans.”

VIDEO: Trump opens 2024 run, says he’s ‘more committed’ than ever